Hidden Carbon Dioxide
If you’ve ever burped, you know that it’s a lot easier to do after chugging an entire soda. Now why is that?
Soda is loaded with gas bubbles — carbon dioxide (CO2), to be specific. And at standard temperature (68oF) and pressure (14.7 psi), carbon dioxide is a gas. However, if you burped in Antarctica in the wintertime, it would begin to freeze as soon as it left your lips. The freezing temperature of CO2 is -109oF, and Antarctic winters can get down to -140oF. You’ve actually seen this before, as dry ice (frozen burps!).
Carbon dioxide has no liquid state at low pressures (75 psi or lower), so it goes directly from a block of dry ice to a smoky gas (called sublimation). It’s also acidic and will turn cabbage juice indicator from blue to pink. CO2 is colorless and odorless, just like water, but it can make your mouth taste sour and cause your nose to feel as if it’s swarming with wasps if you breathe in too much of it (though we won’t get anywhere near that concentration with our experiments).
The triple point of CO2 (the point at which CO2 would be a solid, a liquid, and a gas all at the same time) is around five times the pressure of the atmosphere (75 psi) and around -70oF. (What would happen if you burped then?)
What sound does a fresh bottle of soda make when you first crack it open? PSSST! What is that sound? It’s the CO2 (carbon dioxide) bubbles escaping. What is the gas you exhale with every breath? Carbon dioxide. Hmmm … it seems as if your soda is already pre-burped. Interesting.
We’ll actually be doing a few different experiments, but they all center around producing burps (carbon dioxide gas). The first experiment is more detective work in finding out where the CO2 is hiding. With the materials we’ve listed (chalk, tile, limestone, marble, washing soda, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, etc. …) and a muffin tin, you can mix these together and find the bubbles that form, which are CO2. (Not all will produce a reaction.) You can also try flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, and cornstarch in place of the baking soda. Try these substitutes for the vinegar: water, lemon juice, orange juice, and oil.
- baking soda
- distilled white vinegar
- washing soda
- disposable cups and popsicle sticks